We don't recommend riding down into the cave in the front row on the trolley. If you sit in the second row or back, you are able to keep yourself in your seat on the steep inclines by bracing up against the seat in front of you. The front row doesn't have anything in front of you! I am not sure how you keep yourself from sliding out of your seat and falling on the tracks!
The two girls who rode in the front were freaking out the whole time while hanging on to the back of their seat and each other for dear life-it really seems like a bit of a safety issue to me!
Once down in the mine, I was amazed at how huge it was!
There is a lake in the bottom of the mine with crystal clear water. There were several divers exploring it when we were there. (The blue light is coming from one of divers.)
There was a lot of quartz in the mine along with layers of really interesting rocks/minerals that I can't identify. (It's been too many years since my geology class!)
There was a shrine set up in the mine (to honor the miners killed, I think. Although leaving offerings of sunblock, lipstick, hair clips, etc. didn't seem real fitting for that theme, so maybe I am wrong. The whole shrine thing that is so common here is interesting but a bit bizarre to me.) From the mine, this is a look back towards all the old buildings on the site. There is also a waterfall towards the bottom center of the photo. The setting up in the mountains was really gorgeous!
They also have a museum and lots of old mining equipment sitting around. Eric immediately hopped up on the old tractor saying something about feeling right at home and having driven something of a similar age in his days back on the farm. ;)
It is a very solemn experience to look at how much rock has been removed from the Earth and what a dangerous job it must have been (especially in the early days!) Back when the gold mining first began in Brasil, slaves were brought over from Africa to work in the mines. The Portuguese King took a portion of all the gold extracted leaving some then for the locals to use and sell. All the gold mining in the area is what made it possible to build such ornate churches in Ouro Preto and other colonial cities in Minas Gerais (and also why the churches are all decked out in gold on the inside!)
I have been in a lot of gold mines up in North Georgia around Dahlonega, but this one was much larger than the ones I've toured and really interesting! This will go down on the list of fun things to do with guests, and since it is only about an hour and a half from us, it makes a perfect day trip!